BOSTON -- Pedro Martinez will be held back for a potential
fifth game of Boston's playoff series against Oakland rather than
pitch on short rest in Game 4.
"He would have been available for Game 4, but in the position
we're in now, we have to win three games," Boston manager Grady
Little said Friday, an off-day in the best-of-five series. "He
can't pitch all the games."
Oakland leads the series 2-0, and the Red Sox would have to win
on Saturday and Sunday in Boston to force a Game 5. But Little said
he would rather save the three-time Cy Young winner for when he
would be strongest.
Martinez started Game 1 against Oakland on Wednesday and left
after seven innings with a 4-3 lead. He allowed six hits and four
walks in seven innings, throwing a season-high 130 pitches; the Red
Sox lost 5-4 in 12 innings.
Martinez has not pitched on three days' rest in six seasons
since joining the Red Sox. He led the league in 2003 with a 2.22
ERA and .215 opponents' batting average and was second with 206
strikeouts and a .778 winning percentage (14-4).
"That's exciting," Burkett said. "I really believe this team
can do it."
Burkett, who made the playoffs with Texas and Atlanta before
coming to Boston last year, is in the playoffs for the sixth time
since 1996. Twice, in 1998-99, he did not pitch in the postseason.
"I like pitching," Burkett said when asked if he would have
been disappointed to be skipped over for Martinez, "but I
understand that Pedro's one of the best pitchers in the world.
"I want our team to win. Grady's going to do what's best for
our team. And I hate to say it, but I think Pedro's a little bit
better pitcher than me."
The Red Sox were in a similar situation in 1998, when they fell
behind Cleveland 2-0 in the first round. Manager Jimy Williams
decided to hold Martinez for a potential Game 5 and started Pete
Schourek in the fourth game; Schourek pitched 5 1-3 shutout
innings, but the Indians won, and Martinez wasn't needed again.